The Rohingya: Humanitarian Crisis or Security Threat?

The Rohingya: Humanitarian Crisis or Security Threat?

This article is part of “Southeast Asia: Refugees in Crisis,” an ongoing series  by The Diplomat for summer and fall 2015 featuring exclusive articles from scholars and practitioners tackling Southeast Asia’s ongoing refugee crisis.All articles in the series can be found here.

To respond to the alarming rise of stranded persons in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the Royal Thai Government organized the “Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean” on May 29, 2015 in Bangkok. The meeting was convened to address the continuing exodus of migrants and refugees from Myanmar. These refugees are mainly Rohingya, a Muslim minority group. They have been treated as “second-class” and”non citizens,” suffering from social discrimination, massive violent repression, human rights violations, and political exclusion. In addition to repressive policies by the central government, the Rohingya have also faced extremely anti-Muslim sentiments fanned partly by government-supported Buddhist fundamentalism in Myanmar.

The Southeast Asian and South Asian region has witnessed tremendous human movement – including hundreds of thousands refugees from Myanmar trying to enter neighboring countries illegally – especially Bangladesh. However, despite the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, most of the potential host states are reluctant to accept more Rohingya refugees. One of the major reasons for this is an increasing trend in the region of viewing the Rohingya issue not solely as a humanitarian issue, but also a security and political one. As awareness has grown in both dimensions – humanitarian and security – there is a growing recognition among the international community of the need to do more than just ignoring the worsening situation of the Rohingya.

Historically, the Rohingya are predominantly Muslim and closely related to the Bengali people. Originally, many of them migrated from the Indian subcontinent towards the east into ‘Theravada Buddhist Myanmar,’ especially during the British colonial time. Relations between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar started deteriorating during the country’s liberation struggle. Relatively soon after gaining independence, the new rulers in Myanmar identified the Rohingya as economic refugees, a move that would be significant to the socio-economic composition and political power structure of the country. A policy of repression soon followed, which treated the Rohingya as illegal migrants subject to eviction.

The severity of the Rohingya migration issue can be understood as a clear result of three intermingling factors.  First is the emergence of authoritarian (military) regimes in Myanmar. Second is the consequence of a cultural confrontation between different ethnic-religious communities in Myanmar. This conflict gained significance after the military rulers attempted to assimilate religious-ethnic minorities into the mainstream Burmese culture. A strategy of an enforced cultural unification, namely Burmanization, was used as a way of “National Reconsolidation.” Third is the initial ignorance and inaction from policymakers worldwide despite the fact that the Rohingya issue was increasingly having international implications.

Today, it would seem that awareness of the Rohingya and their illegal migration is finally rising within the international community. In part, however, this new attention to the Rohingya issue stems from the tendency to identify Rohingya refugees as a “non-traditional security threat.”

In particular, there is a growing conviction among analysts that the massive influx of the Rohingyas during the last decades is creating a multidimensional security crisis. As stateless refugees, they have become the face of security threats as well as various forms of psycho-social and human security challenges in Myanmar and in their new host countries across the region like Bangladesh.

Most Rohingya who have migrated to other countries live in extraordinarily deplorable conditions. Living in forms of involuntarily and illegal self-settlement, they have to deal regularly with security forces, the unease and resistance of local communities, and restricted access to food, drinking water, sufficient shelter, and clothing. Partly as a result of these circumstances, they are often more easily targeted by criminal networks, illegal businesses, and Islamic fundamentalist groups like the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), or Harkat-ulJihad-al Islami (Huji).

This in turn leads illegal Rohingya migrants – particularly those living in illegal camps or unregistered as refugees – to be perceived as the cause of conflict. The movement of Rohingya refugees begins to be viewed through the prism of the rising challenge of controlling Islamic terrorism and political Islam in the region.

At the heart of this view is the following worry: the Rohingya problem is contributing to and is partly responsible for the rise of international jihadist movements. In more operational terms, there is the claim that the Rohingya are helping to support Islamic fundamentalism by acting as a (passive) recruiting base for Islamic militant extremists and through direct support for religious fundamentalism.

It is claimed that some radicalized sections of the refugees actively maintain links with banned Islamist groupings like JMB or Huji. Some radicalized Rohingya are accused of not only sympathizing with their fundamentalist worldview but also actively providing resources for these Islamist outfits, for example, providing training on arms and explosives. Additionally, there is the accusation that the Rohingya are using their international network to allocate funds from like-minded international organizations for militant groups operating in their host countries, especially in Bangladesh.

Rohingya have also been held responsible for the undermining of the general law and order situation in their host societies. Besides terrorism, extremist violence, and religious extremism, the Rohingya crisis is also seen as being associated with all kinds of criminal activities including narcotics, human trafficking, illegal trade in SALW (small arms and light weapons) and ammunition, stealing, armed robbery, and maritime piracy. Other major concerns are smuggling and illegal cross-border infiltrations.

Additionally, Rohingya have increasingly linked with growing rates of crimes related to extortion, sexual harassment (including prostitution and sexual slavery), killings for organs, domestic servitude, and forced labor by criminal networks in their host countries.

However, there is the tendency among authorities of host countries to ignore the fact that the Rohingya are mostly the victims and not the perpetrators in these scenarios. Rather, it seems that the general tendency up to this point has been to focus on the refugee crisis as the causal factor for the increase in security concerns.

Rohingya have also been identified by some host governments and local communities as a negative disturbance to local economies, especially when they are settling in underdeveloped regions. Some fear that the Rohingya constitute an additional demographic pressure on the already densely populated area with scarce resources. Others claim that the (mostly illegal) penetration of the refugees in regional job markets leads to further socio-economic inequalities and reduces employment opportunities for the local workforce.

Still others suggest that security measures are needed because the refugee crisis is causing instability, leading to a real reduction in trade and commerce, especially in the Bangladesh-Myanmar relations. In this context, Rohingya are also blamed by state authorities for delays in enhancing regional connectivity (infrastructure) and hampering the working relationship between Dhaka and Naypyidaw.

With bilateral talks between Malaysia and Indonesia and the earlier mentioned Bangkok conference on “irregular migrations”

Source by: http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/the-rohingya-humanitarian-crisis-or-security-threat/

on May 29, as well as other steps, the international approach to the Rohingya is finally moving from ignorance to action. But it would be naïve to think this trajectory is only due to the humanitarian crisis of the refugees. Rather, the negative impacts of illegal migration – particularly on the security side – have finally convinced the international community to act, even though this may be based on unfounded fears.

Given this, what is most important is to preserve the political will and to strengthen the decision-making procedures in order to work towards a coherent and comprehensive solution to the Rohingya problem. Attending to security concerns cannot be done at the expense of humanitarian needs.

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

MERHROM PROFILE

source by merhrom:
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

No. 10A, Jalan 12/10, Taman Koperasi Polis Fasa 1, 68100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel : 016 – 682 7287 Email : rights4rohingya@yahoo.co.uk Website: http://merhrom.wordpress.com

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

FOR ALL

 

           MERHROM PROFILE

 

BACKGROUND OF MYANMAR ETHNIC ROHINGYA HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION MALAYSIA (MERHROM)

 MERHROM is a focal point for Rohingya issues in Malaysia as well as in Arakan State of Myanmar. MERHROM was established in 1998 by its founder Mr. Zafar Ahmad bin Abdul Ghani. MERHROM’s main works are focusing on advocacy, rights protection, public awareness, community development, health, education, family related issues and issues related to Islamic faith. MERHROM has carried out its duty to the maximum level for the past 21 years despite not having funding from any agencies. Despite having very limited resources MERHROM continues to carry out the programs within its capacity endlessly.

VISION

Recognition as citizen of Myanmar with full rights without discriminations.

MISSION

Strive for the rights protections for Rohingya community in Malaysia, our homeland and in exile.

Re-build the Rohingya community to reach their full potential in society through education and trainings.

 NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 ADVISOR                               TAN SRI DATUK SERI SYED HAMID BIN SYED JAAFAR ALBAR

INTERNAL ADVISOR           MASLINA BINTI ABU HASSAN

PRESIDENT                           ZAFAR AHMAD BIN ABDUL GHANI

VICE PRESIDENT 1              MOHD HUSSEIN BIN MOHD NASIM

VICE PRESIDENT 2              HARUN RASYID BIN MD HABI

SECRETARY GENERAL      MUHAMMAD RAFIK BIN ABDUL GHANI

ASSISTANT SECRETARY   HUSSIN AHMED BIN MOGUL AHMAD

TREASURER                         HAFIZ DIL MOHD BIN ABDUL SYUKUR

ASSISTANT TREASURER   MOHAMMAD SADEK BIN ABU TAHER

 

                MERHROM STATE LEADER:

KEDAH                                   MOHD NOOR BIN ABU BAKAR

PENANG                                CHUKKUR BIN MOHD HUSSIN

PERAK                                   MOHD HASSAN BIN MIYA HUSON

WPKL                                     MOHD HASHIM BIN ZAKIR AHMAD

SELANGOR                          SANAMULLAH BIN HALU

NEGERI SEMBILAN             NOOR MOHAMAD BIN MOHD KHIR

MELAKA                                JAMAL HUSSIN BIN NABIR HUSSEIN

JOHOR                                    SALEMA BI BI BINTI ASHARUL MIAH

PAHANG                                MOHAMMAD JAKIR BIN MOHD SALIM

KELANTAN                           MAMUN RASHID BIN ASSGOR ALI

TERENGGANU                     ABDUL RAHMAN BIN MOHD SALIM

PERLIS                                   MOHAMAD HELU

 

 

 PROGRAM

  1. ADVOCACY

MERHROM has done lots of advocacy work both at local and International level with various Stakeholders particularly with the Malaysian government, foreign government, Diplomatic Missions, United Nations, United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), UN Special Rapportuer, Special Envoy, Human Rights Commission, Non-governmental organizations, Media, Academician, Universities and Researchers.

  1. RIGHTS PROTECTION

MERHROM continuously work for the rights protection of Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers particularly on the right to work, treatment and education as Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. Malaysian government allows refugees and asylum seekers to seek protection here but the delay in refugee determination process by the UNHCR put thousands of them at risk of arrest and detention. As a result many of them face long detention due to slow intervention by the UNHCR. MERHROM constantly intervene in the case of arrest and detention and take necessary actions for their release.

  1. AWARENESS

MERHROM constantly raise awareness on the Rohingya plights particularly with the Malaysian public, civil society groups, students, as well as the International Community through its blog, printed media as well as social media channels.

  1. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

MERHROM constantly engaging its community leaders and members in various program including meeting, workshop, rountable discussion, forum, conferences and talks to empower them with knowledge and experience especially on human rights, refugee rights, Malaysian laws, regulations and culture as well as health issues. MERHROM will continuously find a way to further empower the Rohingya Community in order to help our community.

  1. EDUCATION & TRAINING

Education and Training is a vital component for the development of Rohingya community. MERHROM had an Education Centre for few years but had to close down due to lack of Resources. At the moment MERHROM is in the process to re-establish MERHROM Education Centre. We welcome the support from anyone to help us to establish the centre and provide the best education for the Rohingya community.

MERHROM’S ACHIEVEMENTS

MERHROM was recognized as a focal point on Rohingya issues at local and International level. MERHROM was constantly consulted and interviewed by various Stakeholders at different levels

MERHROM constantly invited to be a Resource Person at various meeting, forum, roundtable discussion and conferences

 Due to continuous MERHROM’s advocacy work together with local and international human rights organization and the foreign government particularly the United States government through the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Government stop the deportation of refugees to the Thailand border in 2010. The decision of the Malaysian government to stop the deportation of refugees to Thailand border saves thousands of refugees from the human trafficking syndicate.

Since its establishment in 1998, MERHROM had intervened for the release of the Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers from arrest and detention

MERHROM has assisted lots of Rohingya refugees in their Resettlement process to the third countries

MERHROM constantly having good networking with local and international media to advocate for the rights protection of Rohingya, to stop Rohingya Genocide and promotion of genuine democracy in Myanmar

In 2015 MERHROM collected RM139, 000 in goods and cash to assist the Malaysian flood victims in Kelantan

In 2018, Zafar Ahmad bin Abdul Ghani, President of MERHROM was elected as Malaysian Rohingya Chief, Malaysian Rohingya Council (MRC)

MERHROM constantly advocates for the rights protections for Rohingya refugees for the past 21 years despite not having funding

MERHROM continuously receive invitation from the International Organizations to participate at the International meetings and Conferences. However, the President of MERHROM cannot travel overseas as he do not have travel document.

MERHROM successfully organized the 1st MERHROM Football League on 13th to 16th September 2019 in Kedah State.

PHOTO GALLERY

(Please refer to MERHROM Blog and Facebook)

 VOLUNTEERS

MERHROM welcome any volunteers to be involved in the community work on a daily basis. Volunteering with MERHROM will provide you with abundance of experiences on refugee lives and struggles. MERHROM continuously have student and youth groups conducting various program with the Rohingya children and community.

INTERNSHIP

MERHROM provide opportunity for Interns both local and International to understand better the plights of Rohingya and our survival. Internship will give you an overview of MERHROM’s work on various areas to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. There is no limit for an Internship with MERHROM as long as you willing to know more about the Rohingya.

RESEARCH

MERHROM has contributed a lot to the local and International Research on Rohingya issues. The researchers came from different sectors including human rights organizations, Universities, academicians, students and non-governmental organizations.

 CHALLENGES

The main challenge in MERHROM’s work is funding. MERHROM cannot be registered as an organization in Malaysia and therefore restricted the organization to receive any funding for its program. Mr. Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, President of MERHROM used his own resources to accomplish the work of MERHROM.

Due to financial constraints, lots of planned program for the community development cannot be implemented. However within its limited resources MERHROM continues its advocacy, rights protection and awareness at different level with various Stakeholders.

 SUPPORT US

We welcome everyone to support MERHROM’s work in order to regain the rights of ethnic minority Rohingya in Arakan State as well as in exile. The support from every sector to the ethnic Rohingya is crucial as we are the Genocide Survivors of long decades Genocide. Therefore, MERHROM welcome all kind of support, contributions and partnership in order to help us to implement our programs.

 How you can support MERHROM and the Rohingya community?

  1. Financial support for the MERHROM Education Centre and implementation of MERHROM’s program
  2. Contribute Educational Materials for the Education Centre
  3. Provide skill trainings to the Rohingya community
  4. Organize sessions for the Rohingya community
  5. Material support and psychological support
  6. Help MERHROM to organize fundraising for our program
  7. Organize talk at your School, Collage or University to better understand the Rohingya Genocide
  8. Sponsor Back to School Program
  9. Sponsor Rohingya refugee for higher Education
  10. Sponsor nutritious food for Rohingya children
  11. Contribute to our Urgent Appeal for Crisis Intervention e.g flood victims, fire victims, accident case, health problem that need urgent treatment
  12. Help us to implement Livelihood Program
  13. Organize Health Camp/health program with the Rohingya community
  14. Organize program with Rohingya refugees especially women and children
  15. Organize outdoor educational program for the Rohingya children for exposure
  16. Visit the Rohingya community to better understand our survival
  17. Contributions for Hari Raya Eidul Fitri & Hari Raya Qurban
  18. Continuous Research & Studies on Rohingya Genocide and Rohingya Plights
  19. Advocates for refugee rights
  20. Write to your own government, Asean government, OIC, European Union, US government and United Nations to take actions to Stop Rohingya Genocide.

CONTACT US

 Address      : No. 10A, Jalan 12/10, Taman Koperasi Polis Fasa 1, 68100 Kuala

Lumpur

Tel No.       : +6016 6827287 (President of MERHROM)

Email          : rights4rohingya@yahoo.co.uk

rights4rohingyas@gmail.com

Facebook    : Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani

: Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia     : MERHROM

Link             : https;//www.linkedin.com/zafar ahmad abdul ghani.

Twitter        : Zafar Ahmad@MERHROM

: Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani

Instagram   : Zafar Ahmad bin Abdul Ghani

Blog            : htpp://www.merhrom.wordpress.com

 

EVERY SUPPORT IS COUNTED & APPRECIATED

SUPPORT THE SURVIVORS OF ROHINGYA GENOCIDE

 

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

MERHROM SUPPORT GAMBIA’S ACTION TO END ETHNIC ROHINGYA GENOCIDE.

source by merhrom:

25th NOVEMBER 2019

Dear Chief Editors,

 

                                                 PRESS STATEMENT

 

MERHROM SUPPORT GAMBIA’S ACTION TO END ETHNIC ROHINGYA  GENOCIDE.

 

On behalf of the ethnic Rohingya around the world, Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) would like to thank the Gambia Government for filing a case against Myanmar on 11 November 2019 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the United Nations’ 1948 Genocide Convention. This is very significant action by the Gambia Government as it will pave the way for Justice for the Rohingya Genocide survivors.

We need a massive political pressure in order to end long decades of Rohingya Genocide as the state systematic persecutions against the Rohingya is ongoing in the Arakan State of Myanmar. The situation becomes worst especially now in the Buthidaung Township and few other Townships as the war between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) started early this year. Recently few Rohingya villagers have been kidnapped by the Arakan Army. To date there is no news about them. Both Myanmar military and the Arakan Army continuously extort money from Rohingya villagers. Failing that the Rohingya villagers will be arrested and tortured.

The filing of the case at the ICJ by a small country like Gambia must spark the huge human rights countries such as USA, Great Britain, Canada, France and the rest of the European countries to take similar action. The rest of the countries must support the Gambia initiative and must begin to start their own significant action to end the Rohingya Genocide.

Following the positive action by the Gambia Government, we call upon the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to urgently call ASEAN member states to concretely discuss on how to further strengthen this process. As the Human Rights Commission exists to promote and protect human rights, it is timely for them to take concrete actions to deal with the ongoing Rohingya Genocide.

We really hope the major countries that currently hosting the Rohingya refugees such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Arab Saudi to take similar action as these countries have to face many challenges as a result of Rohingya Genocide. We need the significant intervention of the other countries so that we can return home safely when the Genocide is over, our citizenship is return to us and our rights are guaranteed.

We demand the full enforcement of the Genocide Convention 1948 in order to end the Genocide and making the perpetrators accountable for the Rohingya Genocide. The United Nations, Human Rights Institutions and the international community must fully utilize the Genocide Convention without immunity to end the Rohingya Genocide.

The ICJ will hold the first public hearings from 10th – 12th December 2019. This mark the World Human Rights Day on the 10th December and it is very crucial that the Stakeholders give full attention to monitor and evaluate to the whole process of the hearing. The support from the other government and the international community is very crucial for the Rohingya Genocide survivors.

As 10th December was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations and the international community must review the success of the United Nations to prevent war and Genocide globally and taking further actions to maintain peace in the world.

We regret the use of the veto power in the process of delivering justice to the survivors of Genocide. It has to revamp to make sure justice is done. It is obvious Myanmar has committed Genocide against ethnic minority Rohingya. Lets us not give other name to it. We cannot remains in self denial while Rohingya Genocide is ongoing and tremendously impacted the rest of the world. Myanmar must be made accountable on the Rohingya Genocide. We hope the Gambia’s initiative will pave the way to end the oldest Genocide in the world and this will mark another history in the world.

We regret Aung San Suu Kyi as Nobel Prize winner who fought for human rights and democracy will defend Myanmar against Genocide accusation. We regret Aung San Suu Kyi forget how much the Rohingya fought for her freedom and the rest of political prisoners from her political party. We regret she turn blind eyes on the Rohingya sacrifies on her.

We demand the international community to closely monitor the development in Arakan State as the persecutions against the Rohingya might increase. We hope the new year 2020 will bring lights and hope for the Rohingya Genocide survivors and the remaining people on earth. We hope Justice will be delivered to those who lost their lives in the hand of Genocide regime.

Signed,

Mr. Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani

President

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) & President of Ethnic Rohingya Malaysia.

Tel No: +6016-6827 287

Blog: www.merhrom.wordpress.com

Email: rights4rohingya@yahoo.co.uk

Email: rights4rohingyas@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/zafar.ahmad.

https://twitter.com/merhromZafar

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Africa needs The Gambia’s leadership on human rights

Africa needs The Gambia’s leadership on human rights

By filing a case against Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya, Gambia has shown Africa’s potential to promote human rights.

by

"The aim [of Gambia's lawsuit] is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya",  The Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said. [File:Luc Gnago/Reuters]
“The aim [of Gambia’s lawsuit] is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya”, The Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said. [File:Luc Gnago/Reuters]

On November 11, The Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the United Nations’ 1948 Genocide Convention. The landmark action will bring the first legal scrutiny of Myanmar’s campaign of murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.

“The aim is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya,” The Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said at a news conference held at The Hague. “It’s a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right under our own eyes,” he added.

By filing the case, the small West African nation opened up a crucial human rights frontier and displayed Africa’s largely undeveloped potential to play a leading role in promoting human rights on a global scale. To this end, The Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Touray described the country as “a small country with a big voice on matters of human rights on the continent and beyond”.

It is a far cry from the often disappointing, perplexing and idle standpoint some African states have in the past adopted against human rights abuses around the world and certainly Myanmar’s attacks on the Rohingya people. For example, in 2007 despite being well aware of the systematic human rights violations committed by Myanmar’s ruling junta against the country’s myriad minority groups, including the Rohingya, South Africa voted against a UN resolution calling on the country’s government to cease its attacks against civilians in ethnic minority regions. Pretoria only reversed its position on this issue in December 2018.

With any luck, The Gambia’s robust and resourceful leadership will not be restricted to only backing Myanmar’s Rohingya population. Similarly, unequivocal interventions are sorely required to help regulate Africa’s floundering democracies and support a plethora of human rights concerns.

Indeed, without trying to blemish, question or diminish its praiseworthy leadership on human rights in Myanmar, or draw unwarranted moral parallels, it is incumbent upon The Gambia to show equally strong leadership in Africa’s own political affairs. The African Union (AU) and individual African countries, particularly Africa’s major powers, have generally failed to help inspire or establish a systematic commitment to defending human rights on the continent, despite vowing to “promote democratic institutions, good governance and human rights”.

For the most part, according to Amnesty International, AU member states are refusing to cooperate with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), the African Child Rights Committee, and the African Court; and “Africa’s human rights bodies are being wilfully subverted” at a most difficult time.

Despite Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize and despite President Paul Kagame receiving widespread praise for rebuilding Rwanda, Africa is buckling under a growing, powerful, regressive strain of oppressive and murderous leadership.

In September, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, the special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful Assembly and Association, bemoaned an “excessive use of force by police and military during protests” which killed 17 demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s January fuel demonstrations.

After visiting Egypt, Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the UN working group on arbitrary detention, in November described the death of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as a “state-sanctioned arbitrary killing” and warned that “thousands of other prisoners in Egypt may also be at risk of death”.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s administration has clamped down on journalists, student protests, harassed opposition leader Kizza Besigye and labelled popular singer-tuned-politician Bobi Wine an “enemy of the country’s prosperity”, all this amid shadowy plans to introduce the death penalty for gay sex.

In Tunisia, bloggers have been charged and arrested over social media posts under laws that criminalise freedom of speech. In Tanzania, President John Magufuli’s government stands accused of suppressing media rights, human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, in Cameroon, which is facing an insurrection in the Anglophone regions, government forces have reportedly participated in the “killing of civilians, burning of hundreds of homes, and the systematic use of torture and incommunicado detention.”

Impunity, violence and widespread intolerance for divergent political views, coupled with debilitating inaction and insufficient protections for citizen’s rights, have become a norm for AU member states. African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) CEO Professor Eddy Maloka, speaking at an African Governance Architecture (AGA) convention, voiced worries over governance crises and deadly protests in Africa. “The continent needs to be robust and frank when dealing with governance matters. We are concerned about the deteriorating trend in governance in Africa.”

Still, many of Africa’s leading nations remain unmoved by the widespread establishment of an embarrassingly grisly human rights culture. After it voted for a UN resolution condemning Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya, South Africa claimed it was “a demonstration of a new dawn in South African foreign policy and a return to its founding principles of standing against human rights violations”. Yet, since then, South Africa has, among many conspicuous violations, disregarded brazen human rights abuses by the AU chairperson and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s administration during crackdowns on journalists, activists, politicians and demonstrators.

In the obvious absence of strong leadership, The Gambia’s firm resolve to promote human rights and, by extension, democracy must evolve into a loud and persevering voice for progressive development in Africa. It might be small and not boast the historical grandeur or diplomatic leverage less visionary states have, but The Gambia can certainly help to hold wayward administrations accountable for severe transgressions by introducing purportedly taboo topics at continental gatherings, confronting serial rights abusers and promoting Africa’s legal establishments.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

NEWS/ROHINGYA Lawsuit: Aung San Suu Kyi ‘committed crimes’ against Rohingya

Lawsuit: Aung San Suu Kyi ‘committed crimes’ against Rohingya

Human rights icon Suu Kyi accused of ‘tending towards the annihilation of the Rohingya’, criminal complaint alleges.

by

source by : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/lawsuit-aung-san-suu-kyi-committed-crimes-rohingya-191114171314827.html
Rohingya men kneel as members of Myanmar's security forces stand guard in Inn Din village in September 2017 [Reuters]
Rohingya men kneel as members of Myanmar’s security forces stand guard in Inn Din village in September 2017 [Reuters]

Yangon, Myanmar – Before becoming Myanmar‘s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest for defying the country’s feared generals. Now, the Nobel peace laureate faces an attempt to have her imprisoned for supporting them.

 A lawsuit filed in Argentina on Wednesday alleges the former human rights icon contributed to a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya minority that included military-led mass killings in August 2017.

More:

Among other things, she oversaw government policies “tending towards the annihilation of the Rohingya”, such as confining them to “ghettos” with severely limited access to healthcare and education, the lawsuit said.

“For the cycle of violence to end, it is crucial that all those responsible for the genocide – whether they wear a uniform or not – are brought to justice,” said Tun Khin, president of the London-based Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK), which filed the case at a federal court in Buenos Aires.

Efforts at securing justice for the Rohingya have so far largely focussed on top generals who orchestrated the 2017 killings in coastal Rakhine state, including the military’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

WATCH

Has the world failed the Rohingya Muslims?

Some, such as former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, have defended Aung San Suu Kyi by arguing she has little control over the military, which maintains ultimate power in Myanmar despite allowing a largely free-and-fair election in 2015.

But the criminal complaint against her said she used what power she did have to help, rather than hinder, efforts to destroy the Rohingya.

“The entire genocidal plan … could not have been deployed without the complementation, the coordination, the support or the acquiescence of the different civilian authorities,” the complaint said.

“On the one hand, you have the horrendous crimes committed by the military on the ground, which include murder, gang rape, torture and so on,” Tomas Ojea Quintana, a lawyer representing BROUK, who is also a former UN rights envoy for Myanmar, told Al Jazeera.

“But on the other hand, you have a large list of policies … that are the responsibility of the civilian authorities.”

They include keeping tens of thousands of Rohingya confined to camps and neighbourhoods behind barbed wire fencing and checkpoints in Sittwe, Rakhine’s provincial capital.

“I’ve been to these ghettos many times and I know first-hand how they are held there without any possibility of moving outside,” Ojea Quintana said.

‘Well funded’ conspiracy

Myo Nyunt, a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, suggested this and other lawsuits were part of a “well-organised and well-funded” international conspiracy to establish an autonomous region for the Rohingya within Myanmar.

“That’s a violation of Myanmar’s sovereignty so we cannot give in no matter how the international pressure mounts,” he said. “The sovereignty of a nation is a most precious thing to protect at any cost.”

“Our leader tried her best to prevent any kind of violence” during the 2017 attacks, he added.

Myanmar’s military, supported by the government, has vehemently rejected UN investigators’ conclusions that it committed genocide, arguing they were legitimate operations against an armed Rohingya group it calls “terrorists”.

Wednesday’s complaint came just days after The Gambia filed a separate lawsuit against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice.

On Thursday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved another investigation into crimes against the Rohingya.

Myanmar has not signed up to the ICC but its neighbour Bangladesh has. Prosecutors argued the court should have jurisdiction to investigate the crime of mass deportation after more than 730,000 Rohingya fled the 2017 attacks to Bangladesh.

Unlike the other two cases, BROUK’s petition to Argentina relies on states’ ability to exercise universal jurisdiction for certain grave crimes – meaning any country can prosecute regardless of where the crime was committed and who was involved.

Rohingya testimony

Argentinian courts have taken up other universal jurisdiction cases in the past, including on abuses committed under Spain’s former dictator Francisco Franco and against China’s Falun Gong movement.

The Buenos Aires court will now consult a federal prosecutor for his opinion on whether the complaint should proceed. He is expected to respond within two weeks, Ojea Quintana said.

The court would then hear evidence, including testimony from Rohingya witnesses, before deciding whether to call Aung San Suu Kyi and other defendants to the court, he added.

If they refuse to come “one possibility is to issue arrest warrants”, he said.

Former presidents Thein Sein and Htin Kyaw are also named in the complaint, along with several senior military officials.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s official title is “state counsellor”, a position created especially for her to get around a constitutional clause that prevents her being president because she has foreign children.

Radio Rohingya

WITNESS

Radio Rohingya

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

ICC approves probe into Myanmar’s alleged crimes against Rohingya

ICC approves probe into Myanmar’s alleged crimes against Rohingya

Judges approve request to investigate alleged crimes against humanity over Myanmar’s crackdown against ethnic group.

source by : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/icc-approves-probe-myanmar-alleged-crimes-rohingya-191114162419921.html

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation into Myanmar‘s alleged crimes against the Rohingya, as the Southeast Asian nation faces mounting legal pressure worldwide over the treatment of the minority ethnic group.

ICC judges on Thursday backed a prosecution request to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and persecution over Myanmar’s bloody 2017 military crackdown against the majority-Muslim group.

The ICC’s decision came after Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de-facto civilian leader, was named in an Argentine lawsuit over crimes against the Rohingya and Myanmar faced a separate genocide lawsuit at the United Nations‘s top court.

More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee over the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh, in violence that the UN investigators said amounted to genocide.

More:

The Hague-based ICC, set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes, said it had “authorised the prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction” relating to Myanmar.

READ MORE

Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at UN court

These include allegations of “systematic acts of violence”, deportation as a crime against humanity and persecution on the grounds of ethnicity or religion against the Rohingya, it said.

Welcoming the moves towards international justice, George Graham, Director of Children and Armed Conflict at Save the Children said there was an “overwhelming need” to investigate and prosecute the crimes that had been documented.

“The scale and intensity of violence committed against the Rohingya by Myanmar security forces demands an independent and impartial hearing in a court of law,” Graham said in a statement.

“Rohingya boys and girls were killed, raped and witnessed horrific human rights violations. Approximately half a million children have been displaced into neighbouring Bangladesh – where nearly one in five are experiencing mental distress. They are entitled to their day in court.”

Myanmar has long denied accusations it committed ethnic cleansing or genocide.

Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, but the court ruled last year that it has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya minority because Bangladesh, where they are now refugees, is a member.

Chief ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was allowed to open a preliminary investigation on Myanmar in September 2018, and formally applied to begin a full-scale formal investigation in July this year.

International justice

The wheels of international justice have turned slowly when it comes to abuses against the Rohingya, but this week, they finally creaked into action.

West African nation The Gambia on Monday launched a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s top court also based in The Hague, accusing Myanmar of genocide.

First hearings by the case, which The Gambia filed on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are due to take place in December.

The ICJ normally deals with more legalistic disputes and border issues between states but has recently been drawn into cases involving alleged breaches of UN conventions on genocide and “terrorism”.

The ICC case, meanwhile, will focus on individual, not state, responsibility which could, in theory, lead to arrest warrants being issued for Myanmar’s generals.

“It’s a long process that we are just at the beginning of,” Akshaya Kumar, Human Rights Watch’s Director of Crisis Advocacy, told Al Jazeera from the United States.

“But this court really does have the potential to provide a unique kind of justice; a justice on a really global scale.”

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi was among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina for crimes against Rohingya, the first time the Nobel peace laureate has been targeted in legal action over the issue.

Rohingya and Latin American human rights groups submitted the lawsuit in Argentina under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, a legal concept enshrined in many countries’ laws.

The lawsuit demands top military and political leaders – including army chief Min Aung Hlaing and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi – face justice over the “existential threat” faced by the majority-Muslim Rohingya minority.

Courts in Argentina have taken up other universal jurisdiction cases, including in relation to the former dictator Francisco Franco’s rule in Spain and the Falun Gong movement in China.

READ MORE

Explainer: What is genocide?

UN investigators last year branded the 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar “genocide” and called for the UN Security Council to refer the case to the ICC.

But that will no longer be necessary now that the ICC has launched an investigation of its own.

Myanmar has yet to comment on the latest three cases filed against it.

The country insists its own investigative committee is able to look into alleged atrocities – even though critics dismiss the panel as toothless and biased.

The Rohingya garner little empathy inside Myanmar with many people supporting the 2017 military campaign, buying the official line it was a necessary defence against fighters and that the Muslim minority are not citizens.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at UN court

Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at UN court

Lawyers ask International Court of Justice to urgently order measures ‘to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately’.

source by :https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/gambia-files-rohingya-genocide-case-myanmar-court-191111102022042.htmlMore than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the Myanmar army's crackdown [File: Wa Lone/Reuters]
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the Myanmar army’s crackdown [File: Wa Lone/Reuters]

The Gambia has filed a case at the United Nations’ top court accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya minority.

Lawyers for The Gambia said in a statement on Monday that the case also asks the International Court of Justice to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately”.

The Gambia filed the case on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Myanmar’s military unleashed a brutal campaign against the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to attacks by an armed group. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and burning of their homes.

The head of a UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned last month that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring”.

The mission also said in its final report in September that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya, a majority-Muslim ethnic group that has long faced persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Myanmar’s UN ambassador Hau Do Suan last month called the UN fact-finding mission “one-sided” and based on “misleading information and secondary sources”. He said Myanmar’s government took accountability seriously and that perpetrators of all human rights violations “causing the large outflow of displaced persons to Bangladesh must be held accountable”.

Last year, Myanmar rejected a report by UN investigators that called for top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, saying the international community was making “false allegations”.

INSIDE STORY: Has the world failed Rohingya Muslims (24:30)

The case filed at the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, alleges that Myanmar’s campaign against the Rohingya includes “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, are genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part”.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubacarr Marie Tambadou said in a statement: “The Gambia is taking this action to seek justice and accountability for the genocide being committed by Myanmar against the Rohingya, and to uphold and strengthen the global norm against genocide that is binding upon all states.”

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor also asked judges at that court in July for permission to open a formal investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed against the long-persecuted Rohingya from Myanmar.

Fatou Bensouda said she wanted to investigate crimes of deportation, inhumane acts and persecution allegedly committed as Rohingya were driven from Myanmar, which is not a member of the global court, into Bangladesh, which is.

The International Criminal Court holds individuals responsible for crimes while the International Court of Justice settles disputes between nations. Both courts are based in The Hague.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Suu Kyi to defend Myanmar against genocide accusation at UN court

Suu Kyi to defend Myanmar against genocide accusation at UN court

Buddhist-majority Myanmar is accused of genocide against Rohingya in a 2017 crackdown by the country’s military.

Suu Kyi to defend Myanmar against genocide accusation at UN court
Aung San Suu Kyi will personally lead a team to The Hague to ‘defend the national interest of Myanmar’ [File: Alan Jianlan Zhai/Getty]

Myanmar‘s leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will head a delegation to the United Nations’ top court to argue against a case accusing the mainly Buddhist country of genocide against the Rohingya, the government said.

More than 730,000 Rohingya, most of them Muslims, fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which UN investigators said was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

More:

Myanmar has repeatedly justified the crackdown on the Rohingya as necessary to stamp out “terrorism”. It also insists its own committees are adequate to investigate allegations of abuse.

READ MORE

Will cases brought against Myanmar deliver justice to Rohingya?

The Gambia, a tiny mainly-Muslim West African nation, lodged its lawsuit after winning the support of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has 57 member states.

Only a state can file a case against another state at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The case will be the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over the Rohingya crisis, and is a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party.

The ICJ has said it will hold the first public hearings in the case from December 10-12.

An ‘historic’ moment for Rohingya

A spokesman for Suu Kyi ‘s party, the National League for Democracy, said she had decided to front the delegation as allegations had been made against her personally.

“They accused that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t speak out about violations against human rights,” spokesman Myo Nyunt said.

“And they accused that she didn’t try to stop human rights violations. She decided to face that lawsuit by herself.”

Suu Kyi’s office said in a Facebook post that Myanmar had retained “prominent international lawyers” to contest the case.

READ MORE

Male Rohingya rape victims ‘too ashamed’ to come forward

“The State Counselor, in her capacity as Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, will lead a team to the Hague in the Netherlands to defend the national interest of Myanmar at the ICJ,” it said, giving no further details.

Rohingya activists celebrated the announcement of the ICJ case, with Nay San Lwin, campaign coordinator of the Free Rohingya coalition, telling Al Jazeera it was “historic”.

“We have been victims of an ongoing genocide since 1978. We have been expecting justice [for a] very long time. I find no words to express my happiness,”

Nay added that a ruling from the ICJ could be a first step to returning rights stripped from the Rohingya.

“We have been driven out of our land, we want to live back in our homeland in Arakan or Rakhine state with human dignity, full citizenship and equal rights as other people [have] across Myanmar.

“We demand compensation, we need protection to prevent further attacks on us. All these can be gained through the ICJ and [it] must take this case to the UN Security Council and get a referral for the International Criminal Court (ICC) so all perpetrators will be punished,” Nay told Al Jazeera.

Mounting investigations

The Gambia and Myanmar are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which not only prohibits states from committing genocide but also compels all signatory states to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, noted that Myanmar’s civilian government had failed to act in 2017 and taken no steps to hold the military to account.

READ MORE

Lawsuit: Aung San Suu Kyi ‘committed crimes’ against Rohingya

“Now, they are going to defend the military and the government’s genocidal actions on one of the world’s largest and most influential stages,” Radhakrishnan said in a statement.

“The international community should no longer have illusions where Suu Kyi and the civilian government stand and must act to support The Gambia and take other measures to hold Myanmar accountable.”

The ICJ was set up in 1946 after the Second World War to adjudicate in disputes between UN member states.

The ICC – another Hague-based court – was set up in 2002 to probe war crimes, Last week it authorised its chief prosecutor to launch a full investigation into the persecution of the Rohingya. A separate criminal complaint was filed in Argentina naming Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has rejected the ICC probe and a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s party called the Argentine case a “violation of Myanmar’s sovereignty”.

Charlotte Mitchell contributed to this report: @charbrowmitch

Has the world failed the Rohingya Muslims?

INSIDE STORY

Has the world failed the Rohingya Muslims?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Myanmar: New Al Jazeera documentary uncovers Rohingya abuse

Myanmar: New Al Jazeera documentary uncovers Rohingya abuse

As Myanmar goes on trial at the International Court of Justice over its crackdown on Muslim Rohingya, Al Jazeera sheds new light on some of its alleged crimes.

by

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to defend her military against allegations of genocide at the International Court of Justice.

The army is accused of targeting the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017.

A documentary being aired on Al Jazeera sheds new light on the abuses.

Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports.

Warning, this report contains some disturbing images.

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Will cases brought against Myanmar deliver justice to Rohingya?

Will cases brought against Myanmar deliver justice to Rohingya?

Genocide case filed at ICJ and Suu Kyi named in lawsuit in Argentina while ICC set to investigate Rohingya crimes.

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Thousands of Rohingya have been killed and more than 740,000 have taken shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 [Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters]
Thousands of Rohingya have been killed and more than 740,000 have taken shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 [Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters]

Last week, three separate cases were filed against Myanmar for atrocities against Rohingya people in the first international legal attempts to bring justice to the persecuted Muslim minority.

The Gambia brought a genocide case against Myanmar on November 11 in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), urging the United Nations court to order measures to immediately stop atrocities and genocide against its own Rohingya people.

On November 14, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched an investigation into Rohingya prosecution, while a separate lawsuit was filed against Myanmar’s de facto ruler Aung San Suu Kyi in an Argentine court.

Thousands of Rohingya have been killed and more than 740,000 of them have taken shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving gang rapes, killings and arson.

A UN report released last year called for the military leaders to be investigated for genocide and war crimes in Rakhine state.

“Rohingya victims have been waiting for a long time for international courts to take action against the Myanmar government for its ongoing atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority,” said Nay San Lwin, campaign coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition.

The UN court based in The Hague said it will hold public hearings in the case next month.

The three cases are complementary but can be distinguished on the basis of the crimes they charge Myanmar with, the identity of the accused and the remedies the courts can order. Each court offers distinct advantages.

World Court

The Gambia, which has the support of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), filed the case at the ICJ, accusing Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.

[Tun Khin/Al Jazeera]
Activists Tun Khin says these cases will make a big difference [Photo courtesy Tun Khin]

The ICJ set up in 1946 only hears disputes between states, which means individuals cannot sue or be sued in the The Hague-based court also known as the World Court.

“Whereas the cases before the ICC and Argentina involve individual criminal responsibility, the case before the ICJ involves the determination of whether a state has breached international law,” explained Mark Drumbl, professor of law at Washington and Lee University.

The Gambia alleges that Myanmar’s campaign against the Rohingya amounted to genocide since it includes “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births and forcible transfers”.

It says Myanma’s actions are… “genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part.”

The Gambia is instituting procedures on genocide and also asking the court to take provisional measures against Myanmar.

Philippe Sands QC, professor at University College London and counsel to The Gambia in this case, said that provisional measures are a form of interim and urgent relief.

“The ICJ is the guardian of the Genocide Convention. Provisional measures protect the rights of the parties to the Genocide Convention, pending the final outcome of the case.

Since court cases of this kind can take many years to resolve, the strategy of applying for urgent interim measures is positive for the Rohingya.

International Criminal Court

Human rights activists have campaigned for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the ICC since 2017, but China and Russia have repeatedly blocked those attempts. As a result, the UN has been criticised for its inaction on the Rohingya crisis.

But on Thursday, ICC judges approved a request from Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open an investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya population.

The court stated that a panel of judges concluded that there are grounds to believe that widespread acts of violence were committed “that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on the grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population”.

Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, but the prosecutors say Myanmar can be held responsible for crimes that affect neighbouring Bangladesh, which is a member of the court, also based in The Hague.

In contrast to the cases brought in the ICJ and Argentina, an advantage of proceeding through the ICC is that it has the mandate to make reparations to victims through its Trust Fund for Victims.

And unlike in other courts, victims have the right to participate in proceedings before the ICC, not only as witnesses for the prosecution but as independent participants.

“If Myanmar were constrained by the ICC to stop any genocidal actions, that would immediately bring succour to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Reed Brody, the commissioner at the International Commission of Jurists.

Case brought in Argentina

Parallel to the two cases initiated in international courts, a case was filed in Argentina using the legal principle of universal jurisdiction that allows courts to prosecute international crimes committed anywhere in the world.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor of Myanmar, as well as several other top Myanmar officials, were named in the Argentina lawsuit.

It is the first international case in which Aung San Suu Kyi, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, is being sued in her personal capacity.

The applicants in the case allege that Aung San Suu Kyi oversaw government policies “tending towards the annihilation of the Rohingya” such as confining them to ghettoes with severely limited access to healthcare, and genocide.

The complaint stated that she used her power to help, rather than hinder, the efforts to destroy the Rohingya as a group.

According to Tun Khin, founder of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, who filed the case in the Argentine court, said that courts in the Latin American nation have experience with hearing universal jurisdiction cases against rulers.

Argentinian courts have brought cases against Spain’s former dictator Francisco Franco as well as China’s Falun Gong movement.

Multiple international court cases

It is not unusual for multiple international court cases to be brought for the same crimes, legal experts say.

“Multiple cases were initiated in the contexts of the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, for example,” said Drumbl, the law professor.

Brody, the commissioner at the International Commission of Jurists, called the three attempts an “accountability hat-trick”.

“It is indeed a grand-slam if you include the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. Bringing four separate procedures to bear can help ensure that no stone will be left unturned,” he said.

But there are also drawbacks to bringing multiple cases.

“The problem arises when these multiple proceedings involve the same accused or the same conduct,” said Drumbl.

“Then, competitive controversies arise among these courts regarding the custody over the accused, access to witnesses and evidentiary records, sequencing, immunities and due process concerns for defendants amid multiple proceedings for the same conduct.”

But Rohingya activist Tun Khin said it is “good news”. “These cases will make a big difference. The international community needs to know what happened to the Rohingya.”

Aung San Suu Kyi's Myanmar

101 EAST

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

Hong Kong democrats score historic victory amid ongoing protests

Local elections were seen as major test for the pro-Beijing government after nearly half a year of demonstrations.

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Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong‘s pro-democratic parties swept the board in highly anticipated local elections seen as a barometer of public opinion after nearly six months of increasingly violent protests that have polarised the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Total turnout exceeded 2.94 million voters, a rate of 71 percent, surpassing a record from the previous legislative council election in 2016 of about 1.47 million.

As of 12pm (04:00 GMT), pro-democracy candidates had won a clear majority with 390 seats of the 452 district council seats, according to local broadcaster RTHK.

In the wake of the landslide win, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said she would “listen humbly” to voters.

More:

Before daybreak on Sunday, long queues began to snake around the city’s neighbourhoods as a mix of young and old voters waited for the polls – the first since political unrest erupted in June – to open.

In the working-class neighbourhood of Yau Ma Tei, a regular scene of clashes between police and demonstrators, no one waiting in line wore black, surgical masks or chanted slogans – all hallmarks of the pro-democracy protest movement.

The queue was quiet and orderly as voters ate breakfast in line and scrolled through their phones. Small squads of riot police were seen mingling around.

“I would like to say ‘no’ to the government, to what they have done these past few months,” said Patrick Yeung, a 33-year-old IT worker who came early to vote, anticipating long lines.

“It makes me very angry … [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam just doesn’t listen to Hong Kong. We’ve come out so many times and they don’t listen and make this situation worse.”

Hong Kong pro-democracy parties win landslide (2:11)

‘De facto referendum’

The district council historically deals with local livelihood issues, such as traffic and hygiene. But the protests have dramatically elevated their significance, at least symbolically.

For nearly half a year, anger and frustration have gripped Hong Kong as the city’s Beijing-backed government refuses to concede to protesters’ demands – save for the retraction of the hated extradition bill that sparked the unrest.

Government intransigence has galvanised the public, and voters are capitalising on the democratic opportunity to reiterate their demands, which include universal suffrage to choose Hong Kong’s leaders, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

A record 4.1 million people, including 400,000 new voters, signed up to cast ballots in the poll that will see all 452 seats across Hong Kong’s 18 districts contested.

“This election is totally a de facto referendum for the protests,” said Samson Yuen, an assistant professor at Lingnan University.

“Clearly, this one is more about political stance over the protests,” Yuen said.

Hong Kong holds local elections
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to the media after casting her vote at a polling station [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

For the past few weeks, doubts loomed over whether the elections would even take place. Several candidates on both sides were attacked and multiple pro-democracy candidates were arrested, while prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from running.

Just a neighbourhood over from Yau Ma Tei, an estimated couple of dozen protesters remain trapped at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which police have surrounded following one of the movement’s fiercest clashes on campus. The city was paralysed for days as violence reached new escalations on both sides.

Patrick Nip, the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, said the violence “reduced the chance of holding the elections”, while the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, said: “Only by supporting the police force decisively putting down the riots can [Hong Kong] return to peace and hold fair elections, to help Hong Kong start again.”

Hong Kong’s Electoral Affairs Commission had called on the public to “stop all threats and violence to support the holding of elections in a peaceful and orderly manner”.

For her part, Lam, when asked whether elections would be postponed, said the government “hopes that the elections can continue as planned”.

Some pro-establishment voters, too, hoped to use their vote as a call to restore order.

“He supports constructive ideas to build up Hong Kong. We support people who do not disrupt Hong Kong,” said Gary Wu, 40, who works in logistics, as he handed out fliers for a pro-establishment candidate named Horace Cheung in the Kennedy Town area.

“The priority should be people living here, a stable environment and economy.”

‘We are not going to give up our rights’

Given all the uncertainty surrounding the elections, Ryan Chen flew home on Saturday from Singapore, where he who works for a multinational company, just to vote in the election. Aged 35, this was his first time voting in the district council elections.

“It’s important … It’s a way to really express your own opinions, one of the few ways you can do it in an orderly fashion,” he said. “We should cherish the ability to express it … It shows [the government] our opinions and gathers us together as Hongkongers,” Chen added.

“But whether the government cares, honestly they don’t.”

The days running up to polls have been some of the most peaceful in months. To ensure the elections were not cancelled, protesters called on the public to exercise restraint. And in a bid to rally public support, protesters rebuilt the so-called Lennon Walls – some of which had been torn down by pro-establishment activists – and plastered public spaces with promotional materials, canvassing on street corners and disseminating reminders online.

Among the many new faces running for district council is Jason Chan, 22, a recent graduate now running in Fortress Hill for the pro-democracy camp.

Chan said this election was a “gesture to show the government that we are not going to give up our rights”.

He added: “It becomes a kind of safer way to participate in politics compared to protesting on the streets, running inside established institutions.”

HONG KONG ELECTION
People line up to vote outside a polling place at a housing estate in Hong Kong [Ng Han Guan/AP Photo]

One of the clarion calls for the district council election is to have more of a say in the selection of the city’s leader. At present, the chief executive is chosen by a 1,200-person electoral committee, many of whom are Beijing loyalists. While a sizeable chunk goes to the district councillors, in the end, the elections are more symbolic than effective.

“There’s no way to tip the balance, but that’s not the point,” said Steve Tsang, director of SOAS China Institute, University of London. “What Hong Kong people are really asking for is to ‘listen to our voices, hear us, and act on what we say’.”

Yuen, of Lingnan University, echoed that point. “Even if the pro-democracy camp are able to capture a lot of seats, it won’t have very substantial meaning in terms of everyday politics … It doesn’t have a substantial effect on the pro-democracy movement, more of moral support for the current protests.”

But even that is reason enough to draw youngsters to the polls.

“These few months have really shown a new picture for what Hong Kong people can do,” said Iverson Ha, 23, a university student studying politics.

“We felt so powerless before June. Now many people come out, many people suffer. I don’t think the government will respond to anything so it depends on civil society.

“Can we also fight in those different fields? If we can, I think Hong Kong has a future.”

Hong Kong protests: Are police using excessive force?

UPFRONT

Hong Kong protests: Are police using excessive force?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Isu Rohingya: Kanada puji Gambia heret Myanmar ke ICJ

Isu Rohingya: Kanada puji Gambia heret Myanmar ke ICJ

103Share
Gambia memfailkan permohonan setebal 46 muka surat bagi pihak Pertubuhan Kerjasama Islam (OIC) supaya Myanmar menjawab pertuduhan melakukan genosid terhadap etnik minoritinya Rohingya. (Gambar Reuters)

TRENTON: Kanada memuji usaha Gambia mengheret Myanmar ke Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) untuk menjawab pertuduhan melakukan genosid terhadap etnik minoritinya Rohingya, lapor agensi berita Turki Anadolu memetik kenyataan menteri hal ehwal luar Kanada.

“Kanada mengalu-alukan tindakan Gambia mengemukakan satu permohonan di ICJ untuk memulakan prosiding terhadap Kerajaan Myanmar atas dakwaan melanggar Konvensyen Genosid,” kata Menteri Hal Ehwal Luar Chrystia Freeland.

Gambia semalam memfailkan permohonan setebal 46 muka surat bagi pihak Pertubuhan Kerjasama Islam (OIC) yang mewakili 57 negara Islam.

Jika mahkamah memutuskan untuk meneruskan kes itu, buat julung kalinya ia akan melihat tuntutan genosid secara sendiri dan tidak bergantung kepada keterangan tribunal lain.

“Langkah ini akan membantu mempercepat akauntabiliti bagi genosid, termasuk perbuatan pembunuhan beramai-ramai, diskriminasi secara sistematik, ucapan berunsur kebencian dan keganasan seksual serta berasaskan jantina terhadap Rohingya seperti yang berlaku pada Ogos 2017 yang memaksa lebih 740,000 Rohingya melarikan diri ke negara jiran Bangladesh dan mencetuskan kewujudan kem pelarian terbesar di dunia,” kata Freeland.

“Kanada akan bekerjasama dengan negara lain yang berfikiran serupa untuk menghentikan kekebalan mereka yang dituduh melakukan jenayah paling berat di bawah undang-undang antarabangsa. Bersama rakan-rakan kami, kami akan meneroka pilihan untuk menyokong Gambia dalam kesemua usaha ini, dengan bantuan daripada Utusan Khas Kanada ke Myanmar, Yang Berhormat Bob Rae.

“Memastikan pelaku kekejaman ini dipertanggungjawabkan adalah penting untuk memberikan keadilan kepada mangsa dan mereka yang terselamat,” katanya.

Menurut Amnesty International, lebih 750,000 pelarian Rohingya, kebanyakannya wanita dan kanak-kanak, telah melarikan diri dari Myanmar dan menyeberang ke Bangladesh selepas tentera Myanmar melancarkan serangan ke atas komuniti minoriti Islam itu pada Ogos 2017, menjadikan jumlah orang yang teraniaya di Bangladesh melebihi 1.2 juta orang.

Sejak 25 Ogos 2017, hampir 24,000 orang Islam Rohingya telah dibunuh oleh pasukan keselamatan Myanmar, menurut laporan Agensi Pembangunan Antarabangsa Ontario (OIDA).

Lebih 34,000 orang Rohingya telah dibakar manakala lebih 114,000 lagi dibelasah, menurut laporan OIDA yang bertajuk “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Kira-kira 18,000 wanita dan kanak-kanak perempuan etnik Rohingya telah dirogol oleh tentera serta polis Myanmar manakala lebih 115,000 rumah mereka dibakar dan 113,000 lagi dirosakkan, katanya.

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized